Steinbeck

One of the best books I’ve ever read was John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. East of Eden is different but no less impressionable and profound.

I’m only on page 430/601.  This is so far my only book for February, perhaps my only book.  I’m taking my time with it.  Like Grapes of Wrath, I’m less likely to read this again, so I’m reading it deliberately and digesting it slowly.

I feel just as accomplished with this one book mid-way through February as I was with the eight books I read in January.  Books like this is a celebration of works of fiction.  Books like this is the reason why I love reading.  I love this so much I could not wait to finish to write about it because I feel like I will burst with too much emotion if I don’t share it with anyone.

Steinbeck, thank you for existing, for writing, for sharing your gift with the world.

 

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January

52 books, 52 weeks. This is the challenge that I’ve set for myself this year, and I’ve never pursued a challenge with more zeal and enthusiasm.

I’ll be chronicling my progress here. I’m officially off the social media and finally have more time for writing better content.  I’ve also been wanting to revamp this blog.  Hopefully, I get to slowly clean-up and improve my site.  Meanwhile, my posts will be focusing on the books I’ve read in relation to this challenge.

I’ll try to give a frequent update, but for now, I think I can only do a monthly summary of the books I’ve read.

So here goes…

January.

Book #1 1.1.18 – A book you can read in a day: Aphorisms on Love and Hate. Friedrich Nietzsche.
Book #2 1.12.18 – A book recommended by a friend: Walden. Henry David Thoreau.
Book #3 1.20.18 – An e-book: The Big Leap. Gay Hendricks.
Book #4 1.20.18 – A book by a Filipino Author: The Woman Who Had Two Navels. Nick Joaquin.
Book #5 1.21.18 – A book about a topic you’re passionate about: Goodbye, Things. Fumio Sasaki.
Book #6 1.22.18 – A play: The Vagina Monologues. Eve Ensler.
Book #7 1.27.18 – A book borrowed from the library: Mirgorod. Nikolai Gogol.
Book #8 1.29.18 – A book about travel: The Happiness of Pursuit. Chris Guillebeau

If you’re thinking that this is a lot and what an amazing achievement this is, that’s because it is. I’ve never done this before. A combination of time in hands + achievement bug can do wonders.  When I reached the magic number 8 for the month, I could not help but feel so accomplished.  To date, this is my best accomplishment. I would give myself a plaque if I don’t think them a waste of paper and space.

Would I pursue the same number for February? No. I only read so much on January because I could.  I foresee months when I will be reading longer books and books that require slow reading.  For instance, I’m reading Steinbeck now, a book that needs whole-hearted attention.  With a goal of four books a month, I can afford to read one book this month as I’ve practically reached my quota for February.

This whole challenge thing is adding another aspect of fun to an already fun activity, reading. Yep. I’m nerdy to the extreme.

 

 

2018 Reading Challenge

In all my years of browsing the internet, I’ve only come across a yearly reading challenge this December.  I guess it’s because I’ve only taken Pinterest seriously this year.  As I love lists, this one got me hooked, and as soon as the idea entered my head, I immediately wanted to do it.

At first I wanted to follow a ready list, but I soon found there were other similar lists. After I got to comparing a few of them, I decided to “personalise” it.  It may seem like I’m not really taking on the challenge if I tweak it to suit my fancy, but in my defense, each list has at least a couple of items that does not apply to me. Also, I want to spend less money buying books when I have a perfectly good collection of books of various genres that I haven’t read. In any case, 52 books in 52 weeks is still a tough challenge in itself regardless of the titles.  The whole point of this exercise is not only to read as much books in a year but to read as many kinds of books you would not otherwise read if not for the challenge.

So, here’s the final list that I came up with two days before the new year:

o     A book by a Scandinavian author o     A book about a topic you’re passionate about
o     A mystery or thriller novel o     A non-fiction book
o     A Sci-Fi or Fantasy novel o     A book already in your bookshelf
o     A biography or memoir o     A book that was once banned
o     A trilogy o     A book originally published in the year you were born
o     A book you can read in a day o     A children’s novel
o     A poetry book o     A book about native Americans
o     A Pulitzer Prize-winning book o     A foreign book translated into English
o     A book with over 600 pages o     A book by a Nobel Prize-winning author
o     A book you’ve already read once before o     A book about travel
o     A book chosen solely by its cover o     A picture book
o     A book with a six word title o     A book with a colour in the title
o     A book set in a country you want to visit o     A book with the number ‘22’ in the title
o     A book with a green spine o     A book you started but never finished
o     A book of mythology o     A book by an author you love that you haven’t read
o     A book published in 2018 o     A fairytale
o     A book recommended by a friend o     A play
o     A book written in the 1800’s o     A book made into a movie / series
o     An e-book o     A book with nonhuman characters
o     A Young-Adults book o     A funny book
o     A book set in Africa o     A book about adventures
o     A Historical non-fiction book o     A book by Joan Didion
o     A book by a Filipino author o     A book borrowed from the library
o     A book of short stories o     A book on philosophy or religion
o     A novella o     A graphic novel
 

 

 

The Death of the Heart

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I think I need therapy after reading this novel. I’m all kind of mentally, psychologically, and emotionally confused. There were moments of greatness, but then on the whole, I wondered whether it was worth it. Maybe it was, who knows; the fact that it’s eliciting this kind of reaction from me perhaps shows that it is one of a kind.  Maybe I needed to read this now; to show, perhaps, that I’m not the only person in the world that overthinks.

people’s center and library

People Center and Library is a public library located in Tacloban City.  It encompasses the whole second floor of a two-storey building.  It’s like time stood still in this library.  It was built during the Marcos’ regime and never saw glory again.  It contains a lot of great books, covered in dust, but still in good condition.

After Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit Leyte, the building was used as an evacuation center for the victims.  Sad to say, a lot of them were used for more “practical” uses.  No judgment.  It was a time of chaos and uncertainty.  However, it has remained intact and still contains a lot of treasures which badly need love and affection.  Something can still be done.

My friend Cookee and I decided to volunteer.  We have no idea about book organisation or classification, but we do know how to dust and pile them.  We start where we can.

This is what I will be busy with this year, and, perhaps, in the years to come.

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#loveyourlibrary #peoplescenterandlibrary

New Year, New List

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This is my very ambitious to-read pile for 2016.  But I’m shooting for big things this year.  This isn’t an impossible task considering that I’ve finished 16 books this year.  I just need to take it out on Plants v. Zombies time.  I think I have more chances of accomplishing this anyway than doing the daily 15-minute planking I said I’ll do this year.

I got some big titles here: books I’ve always wanted to read and searched for years, but sadly remained in my unread pile for so long.  This is hopefully the year I try to match my buying with my reading.

1. The Metamorphosis ~ Franz Kafka
2. The Brothers Karamazov ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
3. Far From the Madding Crown ~ Thomas Hardy
4. The Phantom of the Opera ~ Gaston Leroux
5. Begin to Exit Here ~ John Welter
6. In Cold Blood ~ Truman Capote
7. Can You Forgive Her? ~ Trollope
8. Night Train ~ Martin Amis
9. The Vagina Monologues ~ Eve Ensler
10. The Dolce Vita Diaries ~ Cathy Rogers and Jason Gibb
11. The Rare and the Beautiful ~ Cressida Connolly
12. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao ~ Junot Diaz
13. Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship ~ Goethe
14. The Tin Drum ~ Gunter Grass
15. Sister Carrie ~ Theodore Dreiser
16. Washington Square ~ Henry James
17. Catch-22 ~ Joseph Heller
18. The Professor ~ Charlotte Bronte
19. The Bhagavad Gita
20. The Jungle Books ~ Rudyard Kipling
21. On the Road ~ Jack Kerouac
22. Blink ~ Malcolm Gladwell
23. Thinking, Fast and Slow ~ Daniel Kahneman
24. Cloud Atlas ~ David Mitchell

Oh yeah, Happy New Year! Cheers.